We present a large-scale study of a series of seven lessons designed to help young children learn English vocabulary as a foreign language using a social robot. The experiment was designed to investigate 1) the effectiveness of a social robot teaching children new words over the course of multiple interactions (supported by a tablet), 2) the added benefit of a robot's iconic gestures on word learning and retention, and 3) the effect of learning from a robot tutor accompanied by a tablet versus learning from a tablet application alone. For reasons of transparency, the research questions, hypotheses and methods were preregistered. With a sample size of 194 children, our study was statistically well-powered. Our findings demonstrate that children are able to acquire and retain English vocabulary words taught by a robot tutor to a similar extent as when they are taught by a tablet application. In addition, we found no beneficial effect of a robot's iconic gestures on learning gains.



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Publication Title

2019 14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)

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School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics